Tova O'Brien on Mental Health Inquiry report: Government should have had an action plan

Newshub Political Editor Tova O'Brien says the Government should have had more of a plan in place for the release of the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report.

The report, released on Tuesday, has 40 recommendations for the Government to consider, including decriminalising drugs and raising the drinking age to 20.

Minister of Health David Clark said on Tuesday there weren't any great surprises in the report, but couldn't say much about what will be done.

O'Brien told The AM Show she was "furious" at that response considering how long awaited the report was.

"He simply cannot answer any questions, he knew that this inquiry was coming," she said.

"He said yesterday that there were no great surprises in this report and yet he can't answer any questions about these recommendations urgent or otherwise.

"The Government's kicking this out into the long grass until March next year. Meanwhile we know that the problems are getting worse."

O'Brien said the Government should have at least come out with some vague plan or an idea of what to do next, but is instead delaying an official response until March 2019.

The AM Show host Duncan Garner suggested Dr Clark had picked up the hands-off tactic from previous Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman.

"It's not a kind of easy snap your fingers change policy decision to raise the drinking age, to have suicide reduction targets, to decriminalise drugs," O'Brien responded.

"These are politically contentious and publically contentious issues so yes the Government's going to be trying to bide its time."

Appearing on The AM Show Dr Clark said he accepted "we're going to need to do more".

He said changing the mental health system was a "really significant" task and "won't solve it all in our first Budget".

"The Finance Minister has been clear in his speeches already that mental health and wellbeing are a priority for this Budget," he says.

"Having set those expectations the public rightly will now know to where we spend money wisely to ensure better outcomes."